Becoming a Truck Driver

Trucking careers can be very attractive for anyone interested in spending most of their time on the road. If you've been wondering how to become a truck driver and what type of training is involved, take some time to look at job descriptions in the field and learn about some of the training programs available in your local area. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer truck driver training programs for candidates with no experience in the field. You can also find privately-funded and company-sponsored training programs for individuals who want to work with a specific company, or get advanced skills and training in their field.

Here are some of the basics on how to be a truck driver.

Education Requirements

There is no formal degree program for truck drivers, but anyone who will be driving a truck needs to get their Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Truck driver training programs can last anywhere from three weeks to several months in length, depending on the level of study you are completing, and whether you are taking any advanced courses.

CDL training programs prepare students for the CDL exam and the comprehensive program includes a combination of classroom, hands-on, and on-the-road. Students must learn some of the essential safety protocol and state standards for truckers. Most students receive a training manual that they can use as a study guide when completing exams and tests throughout their training. The road tests will require students to have behind-the-wheel experience, and some experience working with simulations or interactive training programs.

Documents Requirement

All students who are taking a commercial truck driver's course must have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver's license, and a social security card. Some schools require a background check as well as a physical examination from the student's family physician. You will need to provide proof of all of these documents before enrollment.

Driving Record Standards

You cannot get your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) if you don't have a clean driving record. If you have a long history of traffic violations, including speeding tickets, you will need to clean up your driving record by taking driver safety courses and may have to wait until the Department of Motor Vehicles deems you a "safe" driver. You will not be able to take any type of truck driving courses until you have a clean driving record so there may be a waiting period involved.

Exam Requirements

Even though you might have finished a public or private truck driver training course successfully and received your CDL license, you will also need to pass the national Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Exam. All truck drivers in the United States must pass this exam to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable of all safety standards and protocol related to hauling certain items. You will also be trained in general safety protocol for taking care of your truck and different types of trucking vehicles during your training program.